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10/16/2009
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Former GM CIO Szygenda Joins Compuware Board

Ralph Szygenda takes a board seat as the application performance management firm prepares to acquire Gomez.

Ralph Szygenda, the recently retired CIO of General Motors, has joined Detroit-based Compuware Corp.'s board of directors.

“We are extremely pleased that someone of Ralph Szygenda’s stature is joining our board of directors,” said Compuware Chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos, in a statement. “For more than 30 years, Ralph has brought innovation and business sense to the field of information technology."

GM announced in July that Szygenda, 61, would retire effective Oct. 1. GM's new CIO, Terry Kline, 47, was one of Szygenda's direct reports.

"I immediately became interested in joining the board of this outstanding company,” Szygenda said in a statement. “I have worked with Compuware on critical projects and have learned Compuware is a very special company.”

While at GM, Szygenda was an innovator and one of the country's most powerful CIOs. Several years ago, in a trail-blazing step, he offered up $15 billion in IT service contracts to a group of suppliers, including HP/EDS, CapGemini, IBM, and Wipro. But to win the work, the suppliers had to agree to adhere to 44 standard processes GM created for IT projects and work more closely together.

It's been an exceptionally tumultuous year for GM, given its bankruptcy, change in CEOs, and the nationwide controversy over the billions of dollars it received in government bailout funds. In an e-mail in July, Szygenda said he was asked by CEO Fritz Henderson to stay on during its transition. "But turning 61 in September and being the CIO of GM for 13.5 years, I thought it was the right time to retire and move on to other opportunities," Szygenda wrote. "I stayed through the bankruptcy and now as GM moves into its next stage, I thought it best to select one of my direct reports to take the position."

It's a transitional time for Compuware, too. On Oct. 7, the $1.1 billion-a-year company announced its plan to acquire Gomez Inc. for $295 million in cash.

Compuware is a leader in on-site application performance management, and Gomez, a leader in Web application performance management. Compuware sees the acquisition as helping it better serve customers that have parts of their IT infrastructure in the cloud, and parts of it in their own data centers.

Szygenda was InformationWeek's Chief of the Year in 2002, and sits on InformationWeek's advisory board.


Read InformationWeek’s first-ever analysis of top CIOs in federal, state, and local government, and how they’re embracing new expectations. Download the report here (registration required).

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